For GOP, a Clean Bill of Stealth
The snowquester was a good backdrop to yet another snow job on conservatives. For the last month, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has warned conservative groups that to successfully negotiate the government's short-term funding measure (or continuing resolution) with Senate Democrats, the House would have to forgo any additional attachments. According to House leadership, both sides had agreed to a "clean" CR, meaning no controversial add-ons or amendments would be considered before the March 27 deadline.
As usual, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) couldn't help himself and hinted that his chamber would be expanding the scope of the bill beyond the original conditions. Now multiple news reports are saying that Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) has been cobbling together a much bigger package that loads down the bill with more spending than the House's version. And although GOP leaders knew that heading into yesterday's vote--they still refused to broaden their own bill with critical attachments like conscience.
To conservatives, who had begrudgingly gone along with the Speaker's plan to block amendments, the decision was galling. While governing by CR is far from responsible leadership, it has been--for the last two years--the means by which key provisions have been sent from the House to the Senate and on to the President. No issue should be a higher priority than protecting our First Freedom, which is being directly assaulted by the ObamaCare mandate. The refusal to unlock the CR to a broader debate violated a core promise that the amendment process would be more open under the GOP. Plenty of members had measures that merited consideration--from enacting conscience rights to defunding ObamaCare and even blocking the President from playing taxpayer-funded golf. They all deserved an up-or-down vote--and it's shocking to many that their own party wouldn't give them one!
At least 14 Republicans were angry enough that they voted against the entire resolution, including Congressmen Amash, Bridenstine, Broun, DeSantis, DesJarlais, Duncan, Gingrey, Gohmert, Kingston, Massie, McClintock, Posey, Salmon, and Stockman. Let them know you appreciate their stand for the real priorities of the conservative base! Not only will that encourage these frustrated leaders, but it will also help bolster Senate Republicans like Ted Cruz, who are vowing to fill the leadership void on the CR and fight for the base's agenda.
Winmill Powers Pro-Life Attack
After a string of good news in the states, pro-lifers were disappointed yesterday to hear about two setbacks on stem cell research and fetal pain. While adult stem cells have been successfully treating patients for dozens of conditions, the New Mexico Senate can't seem to let go of the failed science of human embryo experimentation. This week, state senators plowed ahead with a Biomedical Research Act that would scavenge tiny human beings for "science." Although embryonic stem cell research is light years behind its ethical counterparts, leaders still insist on chasing the "potential" of human embryos--despite their inability to help a single patient. For now, the bill heads to the House, where we hope common sense and common decency prevail.
Meanwhile in Idaho, just days after Arkansas enacted a similar law, a judge struck down the state's ban on abortion after 20 weeks. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill sided with a woman who argued that even if her unborn baby could feel pain, a woman's right to "choose" trumps any suffering a child may experience. "The state may not rely on its interest in the potential life of the fetus to place a substantial obstacle to abortion before viability in women's paths," the judge wrote in his opinion.
Jennie Linn McCormack, who filed the suit, was charged by police after local officials found a five- to six-month old fetus in a box two years ago. McCormack told the court that she was unmarried and unemployed and couldn't afford the drive to Utah for an abortion, so she ordered RU-486 online to take her baby's life. Now she's suing so that other women aren't similarly "inconvenienced." What an absolute tragedy--not just for this tiny life, but for all the lives affected Judge Winmill's activism. Let's hope the state has the strength, and the will, to appeal.
Porn and Raised
Pornography doesn't just exploit women, it also victimizes children--and pushes others to the brink of becoming sex offenders themselves. According to Claire Lilley of Britain's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), "Technology and easy access to sexual material is warping young people's views of what is 'normal' or acceptable behavior." She was referring to data obtained via a Freedom of Information request from 34 of 43 police forces in England and Wales, which showed that in a three-year period from 2009-2012, over five thousand sex offenses were committed by 4,562 offenders who were under eighteen years of age--some as young as five or six years old.
A similar report came out of Australia last year, where Carolyn Worth of the Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA) said that pornography "desensitizes you, [and] gives you a strange idea of what's an appropriate way to interact." One British counselor wrote about a 13-year-old pornography user whose "complex fantasy world" led him to sexually abuse his 5-year-old sister. Out of Canada comes the story of another 13-year-old boy who watched gay pornography, and ending up raping a 4-year-old boy. Former FRC staffer Pat Trueman, now President of Morality in Media, told LifeSite News, "The world is suffering from an untreated pandemic of harm from pornography and children are suffering the most."
** Tune in this afternoon at 5:00 p.m. (ET) for today's edition of "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins" on the American Family Radio network. FRC's own Peter Sprigg will drop by to talk about the Supreme Court marriage cases, and Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kans.) will join us later to talk about the controversy over the continuing resolution. Click over to TonyPerkins.com for more information or to listen live.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.